HFS Access to Education Scholarship Recipient 2020: Tamara

Growing up in subsidized housing in Toronto, and raised by a single mother of 3 who worked two minimum wage jobs to support the family, Tamara knew that education would be a key in doing things differently. After working various jobs throughout the years, Tamara set her sights on the social service sector, knowing she wanted to help those experiencing homelessness.

However barriers and limitations around her prevented her from getting as far as she wanted. She completed an addictions and community service worker program from a private college, but there weren’t as many opportunities as she wanted. That’s when Tamara knew she would have to continue learning to get further.

“Education is extremely, extremely important. It took me a long time to see that.”

After starting at Homes First in 2019, Tamara went back to school, and is close to completing a 2-year program for a Social Service Diploma. After that, she hopes to apply for a Bachelor’s and then down the line, her Master’s.

For Tamara, seeing how she was raised, and noting how very few people attended post-secondary education in her family, she encourages her own children to pursue higher education, and pushes herself to do the same, which is what drives her to attend school while working and raising a family.

“I just decided I didn’t want to settle for less like many people in my family have done anymore. I want to break the barriers and break the limitations in my family and for myself, it was something I wanted to achieve for myself for a very long time.”

Having never received a scholarship before, Tamara is extremely grateful for the support, and now that she knows someone believes in her, will work even harder.

Congratulations to Tamara on receiving the HFS Access to Education Scholarship in its inaugural year!

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